Sunday, April 29, 2018

This Game isn't for everybody....only the sexy people!! Geocaching with J&M

Geocaching with J&M

Who says that every adventure needs to be a swash buckling venture riddled with mass amounts of danger, tribulation and risk?   Contrary to what some may think of the two of us, we are not always searching through pitch black and potentially rat infested tunnels, graffiti stained insane asylums and long ago forgotten structures with fragile floorboards.     Many days you can find us in the beautiful woodlands that surround us here in the Northeast.    We have always enjoyed our hikes through any condition that mother nature gives to us and can be found year round walking hand in hand through sunshine, rain, sleet, or snow, in the boiling heat of summer or striking chill of winter.   Exploring can be whatever you want it to be!   It wasn’t too long ago that we (okay, it was mostly the J of J&M, but M puts up with most of my shenanigans) began to collect treasures from almost every walk we went on.   Heart shaped rocks,  abandoned golf balls, stones with skull faces, nails from old mill sites, odd bones from mysterious animals,  beautiful sea sculpted shells and so many more…too many to list without boring the pants off of everyone who eventually may read this.     A curious assortment of trinkets and natural oddities, but to us, to me…they are sweet memories with my best friend, and if you haven’t figured it out by now….my love.    With all of the adoration that has come along with finding such wonders during our everyday walks, just imagine how excited I was when Marcel discovered (a quick shout out to Mr. Fables who has an extremely fun to watch YouTube channel)  Geocaching!!      Geocaching by definition (thank you Wikipedia) is…” an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world.   If you have not yet had the pleasure of this wonderful way to get off your couch and get out there, then we urge you to do some research of your own and check this great outdoor activity out!!    From websites to mobile apps, everything you need to know is right at your fingertips!   There are a few rules along the way, and we recently found out that if you make a newbie mistake, you will be notified immediately, but overall it has been an amazing new activity that goes along perfectly with our explorations!!   You won’t believe your eyes when you see how many places your geocaching  journey can take you to.  And,  guess what??  You won’t even have to turn in your “cool” card because the coolest guy I have ever known (That would be Marcel)  proudly geocaches in the midst of our extremely cool and never ever nerdy urban exploration adventures!!     If you find yourself geocaching on our recommendation or if you have been geocaching for years, we would love to hear from you, and we would love to hear your favorite geocache story!!   As always, feel free to leave a comment or shoot us an email!   And for the sake of everything completely cool and non-nerdy….Do whatever makes you feel alive!!!

-Jennifer and Marcel

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Dear Snow, kiss our ass! Grossinger's Catskill Resort, Liberty New York

Abandoned staircase with graffiti

It has been a long winter here on the east coast and we have found ourselves pushing forward through frigid temps, howling winds and falling snow that, even now as we near the end of April, continues to rear its ugly head.  As stubborn as the two of us collectively are, we have not allowed the weather to dampen our spirits.  We have trekked through knee high snow to spy an eagle soaring overhead as we explored an abandoned mill.   We roamed through filth and muck in damp dark tunnels and skated cautiously over  frozen basements at a forgotten village for the mentally disabled.  We shivered our way through deserted cold war missile bases, seeking clues to a grim past that relented to a sliver of peace.  At times we have berated those who only come out on bright sunny dare they travel past our frozen footsteps to bask in the warm air!  Do they not know that we have spent hours exploring through the winter chill?   It has been frustrating, to say the least.  So when the weatherman tempted us with one measly day of sunlight in the midst of the most absurd spring ever, we packed our bags and headed off to where we had the best chance of some much needed Vitamin D,  the Catskills of New York.  Destination...Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel.   
It wasn't the first time that we laid eyes on the crumbling buildings nestled in between a lavish golf course and the best diner we have ever been to in our lives (if you do not try the Liberty Diner's signature salad dressing before you die, then you have not truly lived.).  We had admired it's weathered landscape once before and had fallen in love with the idea of exploring the intriguing structures within.  We had heard tale of it's posh past where it had hosted well to do guests, many who would leave their hectic lives in the city to be pampered in the serenity of the Catskills.  Many famous faces walked through the now corroded hallways, making their way to the stages within to entertain the eager visitors or perhaps they were there to find a zen of their own.  Hints of the past invited us to enter and stand in admiration of what once was full of life and laughter.   
It is with great respect for the memories beyond the waiting walls that we entered the wooded area just beyond the clubhouse.  Our eyes seeking glimpses of relaxing days gone by.  The familiar smell of an oil tainted garage wafted through the air as we made our way toward the clubhouse and resort buildings beyond.  Shards of glass lay like sparkling diamonds at the entranceways.  We viewed fractured walls laced with graffiti and gazed upon once grand flooring littered with rocks used to strike through the very glass that was placed so carefully for protection from the elements.  Destructive behavior in abandoned locations is inevitable and although fascinated by the artistry, it is ultimately disappointing to see such disregard for history. Comfort comes from the echoes of others who, like us, are driven by the intoxicating  lure of abandoned places.  We stand in awe of it's brilliance and softly close our eyes to be transported to its golden age, where guests checked into a beautiful hall with a grand staircase and magnificent fireplace.  We tread lightly near the covered passageway to the breathtaking indoor pool where once children played and couples lay basking on a cold winter day in the warmth of the heat storing enclosed glass.  The fractured tile now home to dust and seedlings of moss and weeds. Molded remnants of a dilapidated beauty salon remain, where at one time, gossip and big hair dos were the style.  Making our way out of the damp, cool corridors of the host of buildings around us, we returned to the sunlit pathways outside.  It wasn't long before we spied a wooden structure that seemed out of place.  As Explorers, we have found that, that which is out of place will most likely lead to something that is, and at the risk of ageing ourselves,  totally awesome.  As we walked toward the mysterious object, we caught each other's eye and smiled.  There before us stood an enormous colossus of a pool.  How could this majestic oasis have almost eluded us?   In a blink of an eye, it was filled with cool sparkling water which glistened like rare and expensive  jewels under the light of the sun.  The broken and battered chairs that lay tattered and torn upon the floor of the corroded basin, suddenly lined up in perfect formation and held sunkissed vacationers sipping fancy drinks with umbrellas while holding paperback novels in their hands.  History had come to life as it always does when we explore our cherished forgotten places.  As our day came to a close, we looked at each other and knew...we knew that it would not be long before we would return.  There were more secrets awaiting and more beauty to see within it's deteriorating walls.   We thank you for taking the time to read about our travels and urge you to seek adventures of your own.  We encourage you to have a hunger for adventure,   always explore this amazing world around us, give mother nature the middle finger when she so stubbornly lets winter lollygag its way into to spring and....most importantly....

Do whatever makes you feel alive!!!

Jennifer and Marcel

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Exploring is our passion!

J&M Explorations

Within the passageways and careworn walls of structures long forgotten,  lies history, imprinted memories of the past and the soft whispers of souls who once gave breath of life to these crumbling walls engulfed by time.  There are those who look away in disgust, blind to the beauty within.  There are others who enter with malice,  callous and careless, they leave their marks through destruction and filth.  And then there are the explorers.  Curious to history, architecture and the beauty of decaying walls, they seek to find adventure and inspiration within.   We are Jennifer and Marcel of J&M Explorations, two best friends who found within each other love, inspiration, and a mutual passion for exploration and adventure.  As urban exploration begins its journey into the limelight, it is our desire to share our adventures with other explorers, learn from those around us who share the same affection for abandoned places and to promote respectful and peaceful journeys into the dwellings that hold such antiquity and elegance within it's decay.  We look forward to hearing from you and in your sharing your adventures with us!  

Do whatever makes you feel alive!! 

-Jennifer and Marcel